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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines Finland’s sectoral balance sheets and how they have evolved since the global financial crisis; the analysis reveals that financial vulnerabilities have risen in most sectors. Indebtedness has increased for nonfinancial corporations (NFCs), households, and the government, increasing their financial fragility and vulnerability to shocks. Also, cross-border financial exposures have risen on both sides of Finland’s balance sheet. Specifically, banks’ balance sheets have grown considerably, largely owing to a rise in foreign liabilities. NFCs and the government have also relied in part on foreign investors to finance their debt increases.
Mr. Damiano Sandri and Mr. Ashoka Mody
We use the rise and dispersion of sovereign spreads to tell the story of the emergence and escalation of financial tensions within the eurozone. This process evolved through three stages. Following the onset of the Subprime crisis in July 2007, spreads rose but mainly due to common global factors. The rescue of Bear Stearns in March 2008 marked the start of a distinctively European banking crisis. During this key phase, sovereign spreads tended to rise with the growing demand for support by weakening domestic financial sectors, especially in countries with lower growth prospects and higher debt burdens. As the constraint of continued fiscal commitments became clearer, and coinciding with the nationalization of Anglo Irish in January 2009, the separation between the sovereign and the financial sector disappeared.
Thomas Elkjaer, Jannick Damgaard, and Emmanuel O. Kumah
This paper analyzes the seven valuation methods for unlisted direct investment equity included in the recently adopted IMF Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, Sixth Edition (BPM6). Based on publicly available Danish data, we test the three methods that are generally applicable and find that the choice of valuation method and estimation technique can have a highly significant impact on the international investment position, pointing to the need for further harmonization. The results show that the price-to-book value method generates more robust market value estimates than the price-to-earnings method. This finding suggests that the valuation basis for the forthcoming Coordinated Direct Investment Survey - own funds at book value -will provide useful information for compiling the international investment position.
Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka

This first issue of Volume 51 for 2004 includes a new paper by Peter B. Clark and Jacques J. Polak, along with a tribute from the Editor to Mr. Polak in honor of his 90th birthday. This issue also launches a new featured section, "Data Issues," which will be devoted in future issues to on-going discussions of the latest in econometric and statistical tools for economists, data puzzles, and other related topics of interest to researchers.

Mr. Robert P Flood
The paper discusses a model in which growth is a negative function of fiscal burden. Moreover, growth discontinuously switches from high to low as the fiscal burden reaches a critical level. The paper provides an overview of key elements of corporate bankruptcy codes and practice around the world that are relevant to the debate on sovereign debt restructuring. It also describes the broad trends in international financial integration for a sample of industrial countries and explains the cross-country and time-series variation in the size of international balance sheets.
Mr. Philip R. Lane and Mr. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti
In recent decades, the foreign assets and liabilities of advanced economies have grown rapidly relative to GDP, with the increase in gross cross-holdings far exceeding changes in the size of net positions. Moreover, the portfolio equity and FDI categories have grown in importance relative to international debt stocks. This paper describes the broad trends in international financial integration for a sample of industrial countries and seeks to explain the cross-country and time-series variation in the size of international balance sheets. It also examines the behavior of the rates of return on foreign assets and liabilities, relating them to "market" returns.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper estimates the potential output and the associated nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment in the euro area. The study presents a conceptual framework for analyzing currency movements, and highlights the transmission of import price shocks on consumer prices. The paper compares different measures of trend money growth, and analyzes the monetary conditions. The study describes the stability and growth pact, outlines a simple framework for studying fiscal policy behavior, and estimates European Union countries' past cyclical fiscal policy responses to output growth fluctuations.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper discusses systematic issues in international finance explained in the International Capital Markets report. The paper describes that the nature and extent of recent banking problems in several industrial countries along with the policy responses to those problems. It is observed that balance sheet problems in banking are widespread among the major industrial countries. The paper also analyses recent activity in the European currency unit bond and exchange markets, and reviews developments in the private financing of developing countries and discusses several issues raised by the recent experience, including the broadening of the investor base for developing country securities, the special role played by regional financial centers in East and Southeast Asia, and the systemic implications of the evolving pattern of developing country financing. A key influence on international capital movements in recent years was the rising international diversification of investment portfolios, which is generally believed to have increased in response to the liberalization of exchange and capital controls in many industrial countries in the 1970s and 1980s.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This year’s capital markets report has been divided into two parts. Part I, Exchange Rate Management and International Capital Flows, examined the implications of the growth and international integration of national capital markets for the management of exchange rates, with particular attention paid to the currency turmoil that enveloped the European Monetary System last year. Part II of the report focuses on several systemic issues in international finance, including recent experience with loan losses—especially in real estate—of banking systems in a number of industrial countries; sources of systemic risk in the rapid growth of off-balance-sheet financial transactions—particularly in the bank-driven, over-the-counter derivative markets; supervisory and regulatory developments; and some capital market issues pertaining to developing countries.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Although banking cannot lay uncontested claim to being the world’s oldest profession, it is clear that the principles that have helped to define sound banking behavior have a long history. At least five of those principles—namely, avoid an undue concentration of loans to single activities, individuals, or groups; expand cautiously into unfamiliar activities; know your counterparty; control mismatches between assets and liabilities; and beware that your collateral is not vulnerable to the same shocks that weaken the borrower—remain as relevant today as in earlier times. Indeed, behind all of the banking or financial sector crises that have emerged in industrial countries over the past decade—ranging from the developing country debt crisis of the early 1980s, to the saving and loan crisis in the United States, to the bank solvency crisis in Finland, Norway, and Sweden, to the spate of banking strains elsewhere—at least one of those principles has been violated.